Luna education-reform bills will get House hearing Tuesday

By Brian Murphy and Dan Popkey
statehouse@idahostatesman.com

5:23 p.m. — In a reversal from earlier in the day, House Education Committee chairman Bob Nonini said his committee will begin public testimony on Senate Bills 1108 and 1110 on Tuesday morning.

Nonini had said earlier he would wait until all education bills had passed out of the Senate before beginning hearings in his committee.

Nonini said he believes there is support in his committee and in the full House to pass the bills.

Senate Education Committee chairman John Goedde said his committee could begin work on Senate Bill 1113 — which includes increased class size and more technology in the classroom — as soon as early next week.

4:20 p.m. — The Idaho Education Association issued a statement after the Idaho Senate voted 20-15 to pass two education-reform bills.

"Twenty members of the Idaho Senate today defied Idahoans by voting to advance two of the three bills in Superintendent Tom Luna’s cynical package to overhaul education in Idaho.

"Many of the Senators noted in debate that they’ve heard more public opposition to this plan than on any other issue in their careers, yet 20 of them ignored that input and voted to pass the bills.

".. We hope members of the Idaho House will heed the public’s will on this issue and kill these two bills."

3:54 p.m. — After the Idaho Senate passed two of his major education-reform bills, schools superintendent Tom Luna issued the following statement:

“This is a great day for Idaho, and its children. With these two bills, we have reformed the way we pay teachers, and we have reformed the way school districts can operate by returning authority and flexibility to locally elected school boards. Next, we must reform Idaho's classrooms so all students learn in a 21st century classroom and are prepared to succeed in the world that awaits them.”

3:16 p.m. — House Education Committee chairman Bob Nonini, R-Couer d'Alene, said he will not take up the education-reform bills until all three have been decided in the Senate.

Senate Bill 1113 has been returned to the Senate Education Committee. The other two SB 1108 and 1110 passed the Senate on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Idaho Education Association announced that there will be 16 (so far) candlelight vigils across the state to protest the passage of the bills.

Among those in the Treasure Valley:

Boise - 5 p.m. - Sidewalks ringing the State Capitol
Kuna - 7 p.m. - Kuna HS student parking lot
Meridian - 7 p.m. - City Hall Plaza, Broadway and Main
Nampa - 6:30 p.m. - Endeavor Elementary School
Nampa - 7:30 p.m. - Corner of Karcher and Nampa-Caldwell Blvd.

2:54 p.m. — Goedde is now closing on SB 1110, a pay for performance plan. The Senate has been on the floor for roughly five hours.

The bill passed 20-15 on the same vote as SB 1108.

Yes votes (20): Bair, Brackett, Davis, Fulcher, Goedde, Hammond, Heider, Hill, Lodge, McGee, McKague, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nuxoll, Pearce, Siddoway, Smyser, Toryanski, Vick, Winder.

No votes (15): Andreason, Bilyeu, Bock, Broadsword, Cameron, Corder, Darrington, Keough, LeFavour, Malepeai, Schmidt, Stegner, Stennett, Tippets and Werk.

2:49 p.m. — Sen. Denton Darrington, R-Declo, says pay for performance could create problems in the school.

"It would absolutely be chaos within that school," he said.

"The greatest measure of success of a teacher is not at the moment, but down the road," Darrington said.

"I think something can be developed in the future that’s useful," Darrington said. "... I don't think we're quite ready for this."

2:38 p.m. — Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg: "I had a lot of good teachers growing up. I didn't grow up as well as they hoped. I've heard from some in the last two weeks."

2:32 p.m. — Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth: "I hope we have the wisdom and the courage to stand up and do it for the kids."

He is in support of the plan.

2:26 p.m. — Sen. Melinda Smyser, R-Parma, says: "This is opportunity for teachers to say, 'OK, school boards and communities, put your money where your mouth is.' "

2:21 p.m. — Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, says he has long believed Idaho "Ought to give teachers an opportunity to enhance their salary without leaving the classroom."

2:16 p.m. — Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, says SB 1110 is "not ready and is certainly not funded."

The funding mechanism for the $38 million in this bill rests in SB 1113, though it is up to lawmakers to fund programs. Goedde said earlier the state has "a number of programs on the books that we have been unable to fund. This would be no different."

1:56 p.m. — Sen. John Goedde has opened debate on SB 1110, a pay-for-performance bill.

"The way we pay Idaho’s teachers is archaic," Goedde said.

"The plan before you is a modest step in improving how Idaho teachers are recognized and rewarded," Goedde said.

"We know that education is a process, that’s why we will reward teachers for the progress their students make each year," Goedde said.

1:52 p.m. — The Idaho Education Association called it a "sad day in Idaho" in a tweet (@IdahoEdAssoc) after the Senate vote on 1108.

1:38 p.m. — The Senate is now onto Senate Bill 1110, which deals with pay for performance. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, is making the Senate read the entire seven-page bill.

1:36 p.m. — The bill passes 20-15 in the Senate.

Yes votes (20): Bair, Brackett, Davis, Fulcher, Goedde, Hammond, Heider, Hill, Lodge, McGee, McKague, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nuxoll, Pearce, Siddoway, Smyser, Toryanski, Vick, Winder.

No votes (15): Andreason, Bilyeu, Bock, Broadsword, Cameron, Corder, Darrington, Keough, LeFavour, Malepeai, Schmidt, Stegner, Stennett, Tippets and Werk.

1:35 p.m. — "There is nothing in this bill that would be good for me as a teacher," said Sen. Denton Darrington.

Darrington said he was not a member of the union for his last 17 years as a teacher.

1:32 p.m. — Sen. John Goedde is making closing remarks on the debate.

By my count, four Republicans (Andreason, Broadsword, Corder and Keough) said they will vote against the bill. The seven Democrats are going to vote against the measure as well.

1:26 p.m. — Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, says the bill is a "direct slap in the face to every teacher in our classrooms that make our children want to learn."

1:20 p.m. — Sen. John Andreason, R-Boise, says he cannot support the bill because his school districts — Boise and Meridian — don't support it.

"This bill has some good parts but in my view it's an unfinished product," he said.

1:18 p.m. — Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, offered lukewarm support for the bill.

"I'm not crazy about this bill and the way it’s worded. But at some point we need to start," Hammond said.

Said Hammond: "If we truly hold our children and their education sacred, no one should be above dismissal and no one should be afraid of dismissal."

1:13 p.m. — Keough: "There are pieces of this legislation that I like, and I think that we could do a better job."

Says it needs to be set aside for a year and more people brought to the table.

1:04 p.m. — Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint: "One of my concerns with this bill is that stakeholders were not a part of this discussion up front."

She says she has heard from school board members and administrators in her district.

"Do not allow 1108 to go forward today. There are things in it that are good, that we can live with, but there so many other things that will upset the current situation we have now in our schools," Keough said.

"It's difficult enough with the financial considerations that we are facing. To turn upside down teacher contract law at this point, at this time, without adequate deliberation and involvement will further undermine our efforts to put students first."

Says the fiscal note is inaccurate because of potential lawsuits.

1:00 p.m. — Mortimer: "This legislation allows our elected officials to be held responsible, accountable and to put the needs of students first."

12:58 p.m. — Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls: "This bill returns control to the school boards and invests them with the property authority they should have as elected officials."

He is the second supporter of the bill to debate.

12:51 p.m. — Schmidt: "I do not believe this bill will increase local control, I believe it will cause chaos."

More: "Excellence is a process, not a measurement."

Says he has problems with the process.

12:48 p.m. — Malepeai: "This bill is going to hit at the heart of every teacher. This bill will rattle their spirit."

Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, is now debating. So far, six Democrats have spoken against the bill. Aside from Goedde, the bill sponsor, Corder is the only Republican to debate the bill.

Corder spoke against it.

12:45 p.m. — Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello: "The process works, at the local level, when it comes to bargaining."

12:41 p.m. — Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, says Senate Bill 1108 "doesn't reform. It punishes."

She says it's "rather confusing."

Also says: "I'll say to you that many of the changes in this bill certainly takes away our uniform system of education."

12:34 p.m. — Werk concludes: "Not passing this bill will not cause any long-term problems for us. We have time to define our problems and define our solutions."

12:32 p.m. — Werk: "We can negotiate about salary and benefits, but we can’t negotiate about how much we work."

Says local school board trustees can "delay, deny and reject" until deadline passes and then can "impose."

Goes through several provisions that he calls "interesting."

12:25 p.m. — Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, begins his debate. Says "if you cannot define your problem, then you cannot define your solution."

12:21 p.m. — Corder: "We need a plan to go forward, I agree with that completely. We need a plan that takes us forward, that has reforms in it. We need to understand what those reforms are. I don’t believe this is the plan."

12:16 p.m. — Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, has had a long debate largely against the bill and the entire "Students Come First" plan.

"For the most part it looked like what we were really trying to do, the problem we were trying to solve, was the cost of education," Corder said.

Says: "I reject the idea that we had to do all this or none of it.”

12:04 p.m. — LeFavour says it could be "an open season on teachers" if they lose their continuing contracts because of district politics.

12:00 p.m. — Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, is questioning the terms of ending employment for teachers with continuing contracts currently.

11:56 a.m. — Vote to postpone debate ends with 28 Republicans voting against postponement and 7 Democrats voting to postpone debate.

11:53 a.m. — Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa: "At the end of the day our job here is to make decisions on things that come before this body." Points out it is the 46th legislative day. "It's time for us to do our job and make a decision."

Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, says lawmakers should "get the process in place to do this thing right."

11:50 a.m. — Davis says that it is because of input that vote should continue.

11:49 a.m. — Sen. Les Bock says "We need more time. What is the rush."

11:44 a.m. — Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, asks that debate be postponed "indefinitely." It is a debatable motion.

Sen. Davis says this is a bill that has been "well vetted" and urges senators to continue the debate on the floor.

11:43 a.m. — Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, is drilling down into the bill to find language that allows teachers with renewable contracts to keep them.

11:38 a.m. — Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, says it was important to read the bill because it's "extremely complicated and important issue to have gone through."

Stennett says the bill is "mean spirited."

11:31 a.m. — Debate has begun. Sen. John Goedde says this bill will "return authority back to local elected school board members."

Goedde says master agreements "shouldn't bind future school board members."

Goedde says other states such as Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey are dealing with these same issues. Wants to "return the balance of power to the local school boards."

Goedde says "this bill's time has come."

11:23 a.m. — Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, has taken over. This part of the bill deals with public hearings for negotiations between the local board and teachers' representatives.

11:14 a.m. — Sen. Denton Darrington, R-Declo, is now reading. Among the parts of the bill he is reading is a part that requires a local union to show proof that a majority of teachers belong to it before being able to negotiate with a school board.

11:02 a.m. — Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, is now reading.

11:00 a.m. — And we're back to reading the bill.

A note: Sen. Davis reads very fast.

10:56 a.m. — The Senate is at ease to honor Arthur Jackson, a Medal of Honor recipient. Lt. Gov. Brad Little is reading a proclamation. Jackson is one of two living U.S. Marines from WWII to earn a Medal of Honor. He also has two Purple Hearts for his actions in the Pacific during the war.

10:28 a.m. — Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, is making the Senate read the entire text of Senate Bill 1108, which deals with continuing contracts for teachers.

Most bills are simply read by title and author only, but when Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, asked for unanimous consent to read the bill by title and author only, Malepeai objected.

The reading of the entire 25-page bill is underway. You can read the bill here.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, took over reading duties on page 6.

10:20 a.m. — The Idaho Senate will begin debate today on SB 1108 and 1110, two parts of school superintendent Tom Luna's education-reform package. Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said the Senate will work through its noon lunch hour if necessary to complete debate on the two bills.

SB 1113 — the largest part of Luna's reform package and the part that deals with increasing class size — was returned to the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

Senate Democrats have already indicated their opposition to the bills and raised a fiscal note. SB 1110 implements a pay-for-performance program for Idaho teachers, but the money to pay for the program comes from changes made in SB 1113.

"How can we possibly pass Pay for Performance legislation today when the reckless bill to fund this $38 million-dollar-proposal is being reworked in committee?” said Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise.

9:32 a.m. — With two of schools chief Tom Luna's reform bills readied for Senate debate and one returned to committee for changes, Senate Democrats say the plan is being rushed.

Superintendent Luna unveiled his plan Jan. 12. Three bills were printed, then reprinted in a different form. Senate Bill 1113, which imposes a mandate for online learning and increasing class sizes, has been returned to the Senate Education Committee.

The 35-member Senate's seven Democrats said they are with the "vast majority" of Idahoans who oppose the bills.

The Democrats' Thursday morning press release follows:

Senate Democrats Fighting Passage of Otter-Luna Education Proposal

Boise – Democrats in the Idaho Senate are standing with the vast majority of Idahoans and fighting passage of the Otter-Luna education gambit during today’s floor debate. Despite deceptive fliers and radio ads funded by the dubious Idahoans for Better Education, a cherry-picked “town hall” sponsored by for-profit education interests and a direct call-to-action by the Idaho GOP, grassroots opposition continues to grow at unprecedented levels. Still, the sponsors of this legislation continue to proceed in the face of mounting concerns over Superintendent Luna’s motivations for rushing this flawed plan through the Legislature.

Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde sent SB1113 back to committee which left SB1108 and 1110 on today’s agenda. “This is an interesting tactic given that the three bills making up the plan have been inextricably intertwined since its inception,” said Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai. “These bills shouldn’t be rebooted – they should just be booted.”

Assistant Minority Leader Les Bock said, “Tom Luna’s plan to add 1,000 experienced educators to our unemployment rolls and increase class size, strip due process for those left standing and abolish collective bargaining rights is seriously misguided and dangerous. How can we possibly pass Pay for Performance legislation today when the reckless bill to fund this $38 million-dollar-proposal is being reworked in committee?”

“We need to honor our commitment to public education and our children,” said Senate Minority Caucus Chair Michelle Stennett. “When we evaluate the necessity for change, we must have a well-crafted course of action. Democrats will not allow this unprovoked attack on Idaho’s educators and children to go unchallenged.”

Thank You Mrs. Stennett & Les Brock.

Your commitment to not only our children, but to all Idahoans is greatly appreciated.

Your sentiments are aligned with the majority of Idahoans and your representation is immensely respected.

Commitment to whom?

I'm an Idahoan and Stennett, Bock, et al are not in the least committed to me. They are committed to the age-old Dumbocrat protection of overpaid and underperforming union members. I'd also like to see any facts that show they are aligned with the majority. Just because the union whiners and Dumbocrats cry the loudest and their liberal media lapdogs give them as much free advertising, thinly disguised as news, as possible does not make them a vast majority.

Who knows, with education reform maybe you could spell a tough, four-letter name like "Bock" correctly.

Please tell us . . .

exactly how much an "overpaid" union member makes? Also, please let us know how many "underperforming" teachers you know - how many of YOUR children's teachers were what you would classify as "underperforming". Just to make it fair, please tell us what "underperforming" means to YOU.

Propoganda not based on facts...so don't expect a reply.

Thanks for calling the poster out.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

More people who perform a Pavlov when they hear some words.

They don't know why or how they got this way.

Worked well in the 30's...

----------

Mehr Aufgabe! Hast! Schreiben Sie MEHR!

CherokeeGuy...

this may seem petty but since you are being rude, here goes.

First of all, you should have used a "comma" after "I'm and Idahoan," Second, the term "et al" should have a "period" after the "al." You misspelled "Democrat" twice. If this was intentional, you are just being rude, not clever. Your last sentence is poorly structured and difficult to read and comprehend. You should have used a "comma" after your first introductory clause - "Just because the union whiners and Dumbocrats cry the loudest,". Your second clause could be written more clearly: "...and their libral media lapdogs give them as much free advertising (thinly disguised as news) as possible, does not make them a vast majority."

Who knows, without this education reform, maybe you could write a grammatically correct sentence.

I am always curious about

I am always curious about those whose best shot seems to be good old-fashioned schoolyard bullying vis-a-vie name calling. Does it arouse you, or is it simply the best you can do?

BurleyBob: Can you not follow a thread?

Cre8Harmony responded in kind to what was posted.
And Cre8Harmony was more than appropriate, not too mention more than correct.
No bullying involved when it is the truth.

so ee commings is the antichrist is that it

----------

I think Corporate has watched too much South Park.

How long have you been an Idahoan?

Not long, because we don't have Cherokee in this state and never have. Unless you're talking about the kind of car you drive.

Who knows CherokeeGuy,

with an education you may be able to spell Democrat.
And with an education you may be able to discern actual information - you know like the opposition numbers versus people who voice support of this lunacy legislation.

Maybe once this turkey is passed...

the school districts can nullify it. It is and was never about the children - it's about elimination of political power and union busting. The laptop portion is simply a smoke screen - this is Istars version 2 being paid for by firing teachers.

You know

Just because a group screams the loudest doesn't mean it's the biggest group. Teachers and their supporters like to say the "vast majority" of Idahoans support them, but there's no valid evidence to support that. Tom Luna beat Stan Olson by more than 20 points in the election, and I think Idahoans had a pretty good idea of what each of those individuals stood for and how they viewed the need to reform education in Idaho. Idahoans want change in education, and they want a new system that allows education to work in this recession without raising taxes. And, the vast majority of Idahoans don't like the IEA and the union mentality it brings to education in this state. When has the IEA ever advocated for any change in education in Idaho? The only change the IEA advocates for is higher teacher pay.

I think the vast majority of Idahoans are quietly expecting Luna's legislation to pass, and if it doesn't you will hear from them at the polls next election. The IEA certainly knows how to organize raising a stink, but it consistently fails to make a difference come election day. I think legislators fully understand that.

Humorous

You are quite humorous. First you say that there is no evidence that the "vast majority" of Idahoan's are against Luna, and then go on to say that you think the "vast majority" of Idahoans are quietly expecting it to pass. Where is your valid evidence to support that? Why are Luna and Otter going out of their way to rig the system to make it appear as though they have the majority of support (i.e. see fake town hall meeting)?

One thing that people need to get over is their confusion regarding the election. Just because Luna won the election by a majority does not mean that by default, anything he does is supported by the majority. Being an active parent in my kids education, I talk to many other parents daily. I stopped counting the number of parents who regret voting for Luna. They voted for him based on his campaign which indicated he was for pursuing internet sales tax, and for finding other ways to increase revenue. They did not vote for the Luna that you see before you now. Many of them chose to forget the Luna of 2002 who ran a campaign on gutting public schools and giving vouchers to kids to go to private schools. Luna lost that election, and then in the next one he said what people wanted to hear and got elected, despite the fact he was grossly unqualified. I personally have not forgotten, and do not believe that he has given up his beliefs that public schools should go away. This is just the first step to ruin Idaho's education system for good.

Vast majority

When I say that I think the vast majority of Idahoans want the reforms to happen that's just my opinion. I'm not a pollster and I don't base my reality on anecdotal experience and I don't assume that people I know and interact with are an exact slice of the rest of the state. But when democratic legislators and the IEA say that the vast majority of Idahoans oppose Luna's plan as if it were a fact that's just BS. Because there is no reliable data out there.

ccd3 = Luny's Bin

And when we say the vast majority oppose it, it is ALSO our opinion. But I can safely say that the vast majority of educated parents that I've spoken with, feel that this is a Luny and dangerous agenda. It is not about kids, it is a business-backed agenda; it is about business, plain and simple. They're trying to turn a not-for-profit system into a for-profit one, the consequences be da$#*! Businesses will only see our kids as little money bags. The POORLY thought out laptop proposal is just a simple smoke screen to get people to follow (you're falling for it). Support this now miss ccd3, but don't be complaining later on when we start seeing an increase in Idaho prisons being built: Education down, crime up. You seem not to understand that they don't really care about Idaho's kids, they just care about profit. Don't tread on me, NO, don't tread on our kids!

Give me a break

Is that really your best argument in opposing these bills? Do you honestly think that 4 hours of online credits is going to result in people committing crimes and landing in prison? Seriously? Will it cause them all to become meth addicts, murderers and dictators as well?

How is tenuring teachers helpful to kids? How is refusing to tie student performance to teacher pay helpful to kids?

well if you are going to tie

well if you are going to tie student performance to teachers then you need to tie parent involvement to student performance too. at my kids school there are kids who the only food they get is school food and if the teacher doesn't sneak them a little extra on Fridays the kids will go all weekend without food. I also know teachers at this school who, out of their own pockets buy shoes and coats for kids in their class. 20% of the kids and my kids school are ELL with parents who speak little or no English. our teachers work their behinds off for these kids, but they still don't pass the standardized tests BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE COUNTRY FOR LESS THAN A YEAR AND ARE JUST LEARNING ENGLISH, but those test scores still count AGAINST the teacher and the school. Another 17% of the kids at my kids school are special education. Those kids have to take the same tests as everyone else and CAN NOT PASS THEM, but we want to tie teacher pay to standardized test scores???

ccd3 = Luny's Bin

You're caught up in the smoke screen again, are you product of the reform already because it's clouding your judgment? The technology is being used in the wrong way; it's just a front for a business backed agenda and to try to turn a profit from a non-profit entity. There is nothing wrong with technology being used in the RIGHT way, but this "reform" does not do that. How can I have the time to explain it to you, instead I'll just tell my grandma on you. She said she's taking your cookies away again, ccd3, since you smoke. Studies upon studies, upon studies, have show a correlation between education and crime. This "reform" is not really about improving education, it's about lining the pockets of big businesses at our kid's expense.

Research has shown that

Research has shown that students need small clas room settings, personal attention and engaging situations and material. Without these students are more likely to drop out of school. High school drop out are statistically more likely to end up in prison, have teenage pregnancies, be unemployed and/or homeless. As a result the US every year spends BILLIONS in government assistance for these high school drop outs and incarcerating them in the prison system. So I would actually say that it is a good argument. Idaho already has a very high rate of high school drop outs and of students not completing college. So this plan will honestly cost us more money in the long run being that it will be the government and tax dollars supporting and helping the high school drop outs that could not get what they needed out of the education system.

unbelievable

Have you done one moment of research on any position you take? First of all we don't have tenure we have continuing contracts and a guarantee of due process. In other words, teachers can't be fired without cause. For example, teachers can't be fired for teaching evolution in a school with a principal or a district with a school board that wants creationism. They can't be fired unless they are proven incompetent, negligent, or dangerous to kids. Good teachers can teach all sides of issues without fear of reprisal. If your problem is with the few bad teachers change the evaluation system to an actual system rather than removing due process.

Secondly, you have apparently bought the lie that teachers are the most important factor in student achievement. Income level and education level of the parents and a whole host of other out-of-school factors COMPLETELY DWARF and overwhelm the teacher's influence. Look it up, please. These bills represent the ruin of an honorable profession filled with people who care about kids and are trying their darndest. Maybe start with notwaitingforsuperman.org. Please.

"Good teachers can teach all

"Good teachers can teach all sides of issues without fear of reprisal."

Not any more.

Thank You, BurleyBob.

You just made the point against this Lunacy legislation.

Luna won because he lied

The majority of people who I talk to seem to think that this is a bad plan. The majority of people I talk to can see that the only ones set to benifit from this plan are Luna's out of state contributors. I am glad to see that your hate for the union has blinded you to the facts of this case. I am not a fan of unions. Happen to think NEA is evil but I can look past that and see the good the IEA does. Go into a school and volunteer see what goes on. Attend an IEA meeting it just might open your eyes. Also what is wrong with higher teacher pay? Isn't that the incentive needed to keep good teachers in this state? Why not cut the fat on the administrative side. Did you know that the admin to teacher ratio is higher than the teacher to student? Isn't there something with that picture? Do the research it isn't that hard go to the state dept of ed's website it takes a little digging but you can find expenditures. Do the math and see where there is waste. I know that this is asking you to do some leg work but you just might change your mind.

Administration

I agree with you on cutting administrator positions.

People who oppose Luna's plan just assume that people who support it have no experience dealing with teachers or schools and have never been near a classroom. I have several kids in Idaho schools right now and I support Luna's plan. I've spent significant time volunteering at school and supporting activities there. I'm at every parent-teacher conference. I've done volunteer work for the PTA. I know the principals of my kids' schools on a first name basis. And with all of that I've seen the need for change.

Change

What are the needs that you feel must be addressed by change?

Change

Tenure needs to be eliminated. There are too many teachers who don't perform to standard and who slide through till retirement in a system that embraces them. Tenure discourages trying to be better. It encourages complacency and routine. There is no such thing in the private sector as tenure. We all have to work as if our jobs aren't assured us the rest of our lives. That makes a difference in how we do our work.

Tying student performance to teacher pay. This is typically how it works in the private sector. You perform well and your employer will reward you for it. You don't perform and you get no reward. And while I understand that there are factors outside of a teacher's control that influence student performance, there are also a lot of factors in the teacher's control that influence it as well. A teacher needs to be vested in the performance of his or her students just like we in the private sector have to be vested in our work. Instead of hearing from teachers how they want students to do better on tests, we hear complaints from them about the testing and about the students.

Allowing experiences outside of the school itself influence kids in their learning. I get the sense that teachers hate the online learning requirements in Luna's plan becuase it takes control of the learning out of the teacher's hands and gives it--a very small portion of it (4 credit hours per year)--to someone else. How is that a bad thing? Are teachers afraid that if a student does well in the online class but poor in the classroom the teacher will face scrutiny? How do online courses hurt students, particularly where a lot of teachers use them to get their own degrees?

School districts need more freedom to make teacher hires and to balance funding between salaries and other sources.

Well, there's a few.

I keep hearing 'there are too many teachers who don't

perform to standard', but I never see any information as to what that 'standard' is, how they are measured against it, and what the number of underperforming teachers are? AND, if they are 'underperforming' then why hasn't the school districts gotten rid of them? Tenure is no excuse, it merely guarantees due process.

Pay for performance...don't know what field you work in, but I have had some experience with this. Teaching is not a clearly defined objective goal that can be easily, adequately and objectively measured (tests are only one part, and not clearly objective across all populations). So the first problem is creating objective measures that can be easily understood and measured. The second problem is that any performance that is rewarded is what the employee will do to get the reward. You incentivize a salesperson to get new accounts, he will get new accounts, regardless of the quality. You incentivize a salesperson to get quality accounts, they'll get quality accounts, but will pass up a lot of accounts that aren't considered quality under the terms of the incentive program.

There is a lot of gray in classroom teaching and success. It is not easily understood by those outside, and at times not fully even by experts within the profession. People are complex units affected by their environment, social situations, their personal psychological base, and are not easily fit into one paradigm of understanding. They are after all, people, and not a product that is easily measured with objective 'quality' criteria.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

So your reply

seems to be that we just can't understand or establish any standards or measures of performance so we shouldn't ever try. That's hardly a solution. It's the same talking points the IEA and teachers have used for years to try and fight off this change. It's an argument for never changing.

At the very least--and I only say this for the sake of argument--the changes proposed in this legislation will give us a chance to see if something different will work. All teachers want is the same, which changes nothing.

Has Luna put forth the measures he wants to use?

What are they? Are they tested on a smaller scale? Or does his plan call for 'objective measures' but then doesn't define them, and wants to leave that up to someone else. A broad brush based on some experience is that money is not the primary motivation for most teachers. So what is the use to even try to create a system that incentivizes someone on something that is difficult to measure, and will probably not truly motivate the intended recipient? Just because most of the Republican leadership is greedy and only seem incenitvized by cash does not mean everyone is.

What needs changing and why is the question that has not been answered. What are the indicators that Republicans and posters such as yourself are using as indications that the system is failing? Luna and Otter both said a few months that education in Idaho is great. What is the crisis now that calls for such a radical, non-tested, incomplete plan such as Luna's?

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

ccd3, a 'standard'?

Your constant referral to a standard, as well as your remarks that teachers are performing 'below standard' suggest that you know what the standard is. What is it? In order to know if teachers are performing 'below' a standard, you must know what it is, as well as what constitutes being above or below it.
Yet when you're asked a reasonable question about teaching standards, which you must know a great deal about, you defer to anti-union talking points and blame them for asking the same question.
Is a 'teaching standard' too nebulous for you to explain? If so, how is it that you know so many teachers are below it?
I am not a union member. In fact, I'm a card-carrying Republican, who believes Luna's proposals are perhaps the worst bills to ever hit the state. Your anti-union rhetoric holds no water with me. The fact that you dodge reasonable questions leads to the easy conclusion that you lack answers.

Since you, and Luna, and so many others who want merit pay for teachers yet have never taught, won't answer questions: "What is the standard? Who determines it? Who measures it?", logic says the answers are squishy. Sounds like so much nepotism and cronyism, especially when Mr. Luna has already proven by his "Cronies Come First" computer bill that, while he may have no ideas about teaching standards, he's quite familiar with paying back contributors.

Please cite:

that teachers want the same.
Please cite teachers were included in the process of change.

Not my experience

You and I will have to respectfully disagree - I have had two children in the schools of this state for 13 years (one a senior). I have not run into teachers who are "sliding through the system" - perhaps we are merely lucky. My experience has been that teachers care deeply about their students and ensure that they learn. As far as tenure in the private sector goes - I make quite a bit more money than teachers do, although I am not any more educated than most of them - how do you propose we keep good teachers around if we are not going to ensure their security through long-term employment (because we are not ensuring their security by paying them enough for them to be able to put money aside for the time when they might no longer be employed)?

You are right - there are many factors relating to student performance that are outside of a teacher's control. One of the most important is parent involvement - and yet, if we judge teachers based upon student performance, we will be doing so based upon parent involvement and other factors over which they have no control - doesn't seem fair to me, and I think if you are honest with yourself, it won't seem fair to you.

I can't speak to teacher's fears about online learning because I am not a teacher, but I can speak to my experiences. My children have taken on-line courses for which they received high school (and college!) credit - they completed the courses VERY quickly, received As, and have themselves told me that they retained nothing from the class - the courses were, according to them, "worthless" other than for the purpose of obtaining credit. With these concerns, I must oppose mandated online learning - although I recognize there must be ways that it can be improved. So, let's improve it BEFORE we mandate our children to participate in it.

Thank you very much for your informed and detailed opinion. I appreciate the dialogue.

HCL, my experience was similar.

My sophmore took 2 online cla$$es last summer (he's motivated!). An A in one cla$$, P in the P/F class. Although I think he got something out of both cla$$es, that is due to his personal make-up; he's like a sponge that likes to suck up any knowledge he can get. The cla$$ he got an A in was political science, which was discussed pretty thoroughly at the dinner table, but probably only because of my education in it as well. And THERE is the parental involvement issue. I think a kid with a less interested/involved parent when it comes to educational material, will impact the experience for the child. For him, he could do his lessons in the morning, then discuss that night for reinforcement/reflection. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen for every child and every subject.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Thank you

for your comment. I appreciate civility as much as anyone.

My experience has also been that most teachers care greatly about the students they teach. But I have also had experience with teachers who, in my opinion, were not performing to a standard reasonably expected and who, had they been working in a private setting under an at-will employment policy, would have been handed a pink slip long ago. You have to understand that tenure doesn't protect those who, based on their performance, don't need it; it protects those whose performance and conduct would otherwise result in their dismissal. There are laws in place to protect even at-will employees from discriminatory terminations. Why do teachers need that added protection if, by reasonable performance, they would keep their jobs anyway like all other performing employees in other sectors of work. Good teachers will have safe jobs in teaching without tenure just like good nurses, good accountants, good clerical workers, and all other kids of good workers do. Why is it important to insulate teachers from the realities of today's economy when no other class of employment are similarly protected? Taking away tenure is going to spark more desire in teachers to be good at what they do than keeping it will.

I don't advocate making all teacher pay based solely on test scores, but there is certainly a system that can be devised to make it part of that consideration. It has to be. If we divorce student performance from teacher pay we divorce incentive to make that performance better. It's just human nature. I think it's much better to create a performance-incentive system that takes into account detracting factors such as low parent involvement and other similar issues than it is to simply avoid the performance-inventive system altogether because of those reasons.

And as to online learning, I tend to believe that you get out of it what you put into it. My kids have admitted they often times don't remember what they learned last year in their normal class. Why should online courses be held to a higher standard? Online courses aren't the answer to all of education's problems, but I strongly disagree with the demonization they're getting from teachers in response to Luna's plan, particularly when I know for a fact that many teachers take online courses themselves to get their bachelors and masters degrees in teaching. It's absolutely hypocritical. Online education can certainly be made better, but so can traditional education. That's why I support these bills.

In the private sector most pay is not based on performance

So why should it be so in education? In one employment area that has one of the toughest measures for performance, why do you feel that pay HAS to be based on performance? Its' not so in most jobs. There may be bonuses, but unless you are in manufacturing in a 'piece-work' environment, or commissioned sales, most work, especially by professionals, is not annually reviewed for performance, then the pay is determined. Merit raises, bonuses, profit sharing, yeah, those, perhaps are, but not the pay itself. Why do you think teachers should be that way? Is our governor? State reps? How about cops, military, nurses, scientists...? Please answer that?

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Again . . . .

. . . . I must respectfully disagree. If we take away tenure, security is taken away - it DOES protect teachers from the whims of changing school boards, principals and parents. It is what motivates excellent people to go into the field - take it away, and we will lose the excellence as teachers will have to obtain the security by taking their skills to the marketplace where they can receive more money . . . .

To the extent that you advocate working together with teachers to recognize performance as part of the process by which teachers receive raises, I agree.

Online cla$$es - my kids are superb students - they do well - but it is at least in part because of they way their parents help them stay motivated - we do this by typically insisting they do well with their grades - they did in these cases - albeit with a minimum amount of effort. So, you are right, online education can be improved. GREAT -let's improve it BEFORE we mandate that our children participate in it and fail to learn that which they need in life.

Again, thanks for your thoughtful responses.

Rolling Contracts & Pay for Performance

One of the greatest misconceptions about good accountants/nurses/clerical workers/etc... jobs not being insulated compared to teaching jobs that are insulated falls into the idea that most of accountants/nurses/clerical workers/etc... make similar amounts of money for the same job. If one feels that they deserve more money, they can look for a new job. But at a singular company, most people doing a particular job makes amounts close to one another. Teachers are not able to bounce around looking for the best paid position... everyone makes similar amounts for equivilant education and years in the profession... and those amounts are posted for anyone to look at. Is yours?

In teaching, a first year teacher may make $30,000, while a 15 year teacher may make $50,000 or more depending on their education level. For these pay raises, they are forced to take higher education courses in which they need to pay for it themselves. What other profession makes raise only tied to spending one's own money? Without rolling contracts, why would any teacher take continuing education courses? I would hate (and am personally scared as I am in the middle of my next degree) to put $10,000+ into getting my next degree only to find myself out of a position because a laptop replaced my job, but I still owe the $10,000. I charge you to find a underperforming teacher that doesn't think they are doing a good job. All teachers that I know would prefer to learn to be a better teacher than stay a poor teacher. Rolling contracts are there for the process to help teachers, and it gives administrators the ability to release teachers who continuely under perform.

Pay for Performance makes teachers focus on how to get that pay raise. I propose that it will make many teachers worse. It doesn't allow teachers to try new ideas... that they might fall flat is still part of the process. No one has great ideas all the time, but it doen't mean you shouldn't try. It stifles creativity. The idea of "pay for performance" for education has been around since the 60's, if not earlier. There is not one example of a district that has done this and shown student improvement. Please, if you find a study, post it... though I doubt you will find one. Luna's plan doesn't address the ways it will be implemented. How does Special Ed teachers fit in? ELL teachers? How can you compare Caldwell High teachers to Boise High teachers. Boise High students do better, so it must be the teacher. I know some teachers at Caldwell and they are amazing... but their kids don't always perform as well.

Can pay for perfomance work? Maybe, but don't pass a law for it without knowing every aspect of how it will be implemented. I'm sorry, I don't trust Tom Luna enough to say that this idea was completely thought out before it was proposed. In his TV appearance, he said it wasn't going to be based on test score, but on student imporvement. How will student improvement be judged? Test Scores?

There is no tenure in public education

Also, tying student performance to teacher pay is a swell idea, but how do you measure it?

That's right, the only

That's right, the only educators in Idaho who have tenure is at the college level. K-12 educators have what's called a rolling contract, which after 3 years of good administration reviews they can be offered a contract that automatically rolls to the next year as long as the teacher's performance and reviews are good. to call rolling contracts tenure is disingenuous and misleading. 22 teachers in the Boise School District were let go last year for cause (meaning they were not doing their job well)

Actually it's a STUPID idea.

Actually it's a STUPID idea. I will just teach my kids the test to ensure that I get my incentive. I don't really need to teach enrichment and challenge kids as long as they know the answers to the test. It's hard for someone who isn't in the classroom everyday to have an educated opinion on this. You know NOTHING about being a teacher and helping our kids become prepared for the future. I'm not a doctor and therefore I don't give people medical advice, I'm not a lawyer and therefore I don't give legal advice, I'm not a banker, therefore I don't give financial advice...do I need to continue?

minor correction

I agree with what you stated. However it is even less onerous. The current proposal is for 4 online credits over entire high school period or one credit per year.

Thanks

for clarifying that. Well, I guess the jury's come back on that issue. Four credits over the course of high school will absolutely cede full control of Idaho education over to the evil online learning corporations.

Stanford

It will keep them from getting into Stanford, Yale, Notre Dame, and many other top schools in the country that do not accept online courses on transcripts.

actually these schools do

actually these schools do accept the online course work as long as it is from an accredited institution. The issue is students may be evaluated differently due to their online clsses and if it is believed that they are not capable of performing in a typical classroom setting, or interacting in a classroom setting this could lead to problems. The first wave of these students that go to college will play a huge factor in the acceptance of future Idaho students. If they do not perform well universities will be less inclined to accept them. Also when there are no teachers who is suppose to write recommendations? Universities are worried that with the online clsses and less teachers, it will be harder to measure student performance. Tests like the SAT and ACT will be weighed more and well all know that those are not always a fair reflection on the qualifications of a student.

Wrong about Stanford

Stanford is offering a complete high school education online for gifted students. Cost? $13,000 a year. Price includes an optional summer camp on the Stanford campus.

Stanford, like most of our nation's best private colleges, recruits from the cream of the crop and still only accepts around 7% of the students who apply for admission. This online high school sounds like an additional recruitment tool to me, and I think you will find it is going to be very popular with the upper class who are always looking for that edge (i.e. prestigious prep schools) to get their children into Ivy League colleges. By designating the program a school for "gifted" students, they are perhaps making it a little harder for parents to simply buy an enrollment, but that partly depends on what information is being sought on its 20+ paged application.

I think you underestimate the ability of any school admission officers, public or private, to make exceptions to their rules when a very promising applicant has taken an online course or maybe four, especially if the courses are approved by a regional accredidation association which Luna says will be the case for the courses taken by Idaho students. The world is not as black & white & rigid has your thinking appears to be.

1 Question - ccd3

Did Luna reveal this plan during the election? I don't think Idahoans had a "pretty good idea" about this plan. Honestly, do you?

Cre8Harmony : Don'tcha know...

ccd3 has a crystal ball and can read minds?
Gawd, what do you not get about this?

hoodwinked

I often wonder if Luna had run is reelection campaign on his current plan whether he would have won! He sang the praises of Idaho teachers and how GREAT everything was and now they are all thugs out to protect crummy teachers!

slking,

Time to stop wondering. The answer is no. Luna, no doubt, received a great deal of advice to keep quiet about this plan while campaigning on exactly what you said-- a 180 from the tune he's singing now.